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    A historical relic of extraordinary importance

    Circa 1890 Bristol Base Ball Club Photograph--Earliest Known Image of a Black Baseball Team. Seminal artifact is one of the most fascinating and mysterious we have ever presented, an image that challenges everything we thought we knew about the earliest days of black baseball. The only known research to feature this team is Dixon and Hannigan's "The Negro Baseball Leagues: A Photographic History," but sadly the volume provides no insight into the team's history.

    Here's what we can infer from the available visual evidence.

    The studio setting and the players' uniforms are consistent with the circa 1890 game, likely bringing to many collectors' minds the similarly-staged Old Judge trading cards that serve as its contemporary. The long, thick-handled bats, the neck ties, the wire catcher's mask in the lap of the gentleman sitting in the center row at far left--all of these are what we would expect to see in an image from this period.

    What we would not expect to see, of course, is such a well-outfitted team posing for an expensive studio photograph that is not Caucasian, as these unenlightened times in our national history were not prosperous ones for our African-American fellow citizens. There is clearly a very unique story that results in the existence of such a remarkably unexpected photograph as this, and we're dying to know what it is.

    The outsized dimensions of the image--10.5x15" not including the backing mount--would likewise indicate a wealthy benefactor, as this would have been quite expensive to produce in the day. The magnificent sepia image is affixed to a mount that identifies each man pictured, housed in a very substantial, period wooden frame that concludes the dimensions at 16.5x19.5". Noted baseball historian Mark Rucker identifies the image as the earliest known in the history of black baseball, thus the stunningly fine state of preservation is veritable overkill.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2016
    27th-28th Saturday-Sunday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 6
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,175

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Sold on Aug 27, 2016 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
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